Tech companies embrace Earth Day

Earth Day evokes an image of blue skies, clear water, and a healthy environment for many of us, but for several technology companies it’s also a chance to point out their responsiveness to conservationist concerns.

Earth Day, which is observed on April 22, began in 1970 as a way to promote conservation. That message has made its way to the tech community, with everyone from PC makers to cell phone vendors getting into the environmentalist spirit this week.

Many companies are using Earth Day to announce and promote programs that encourage recycling of their products–as well as those of their competitors. In many cases, support for another social cause is part of the project. Many have ongoing recycling programs.

Phone Makers Pitch In

Verizon Wireless Inc. is offering free cell phone recycling through its HopeLine program. Consumers can drop off any brand of wireless phone or accessory at the 1200 Verizon retail outlets across the country. Depending on condition, the phones are refurbished, recycled, or sold. Proceeds go to domestic violence-prevention programs across the country.

AT&T Wireless is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Keep America Beautiful to sponsor an enhanced recycling program for cell phones, batteries, and accessories.

Consumers can drop off unwanted wireless phones at any AT&T Wireless office.

“Our goal is not simply for our company to comply with recycling laws, but to go further and provide a means for our customers and wireless customers in general to recycle their equipment,” said Rochelle Cohen, a spokesperson for AT&T Wireless.

Profits from the AT&T Wireless program are donated to Keep America Beautiful, and donated phones that can be re-used are given to the Red Cross and other emergency relief agencies.

Revved-Up Recycling

On the computer front, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are especially active in the recycling arena.

For Earth Day, HP announced it will double the value of its HP Planet Partners e-coupon promotion to encourage more computer users to recycle.

Those who donate in April can earn up to a US$100 credit toward online product purchases from HP.

Consumers using HP’s Web-based recycling service can arrange for equipment pickup for re-use, donation, or disposal. HP operates its own recycling centers near Roseville, California, and Nashville, Tennessee.

HP also sponsors an international laser printer cartridge-recycling program that has handled more than 39 million cartridges worldwide since 1992. Company officials said the program is responsible for keeping more than 50,000 tons of material out of landfills around the globe.

Double Duty

Environmentally conscious consumers who buy a new Dell printer can now safely dispose of their old printer, without paying a fee. Since March, Dell has included return shipping free to anyone purchasing a new printer. The old units are refurbished or recycled, depending on their usability.

Dell also has a recycling program for notebooks, desktops, and monitors. There is a $15 fee, but participants qualify for a 10 percent discount off their next online purchase from Dell.

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